FOR the first time this season Skelmersdale United moved into the leaders spot in the Evo-Stik Division One North after they beat the previous leaders at the West Lancashire College Stadium with a late goal from Mike Phenix.
Arguably, Mossley had to win on the day and they set about their task well, pushing Skelmersdale back in the opening half-hour, but significantly they didn’t trouble Skelmersdale goalkeeper Sam Ashton a great deal.
Chances were few and far between until the 32nd minute when Skelmersdale made the first mark and it was a real example of team football at its best. The ball was rolled out to right-back Lewis Field, he released Matty Hughes down the right-hand side at pace, reaching the edge of the penalty area Hughes looked up and pulled the ball back across goal right into the path of a grateful Gary Burnett, who stroked home Skelmersdale’s opener.
In the 40th minute, Burnett chased down the experienced Mossley defender Steve Halford and stole the ball, he crossed to Strickland, but he couldn’t keep the ball under the crossbar.
Mossley may have inflicted two thirds of the pressure but Skelmersdale had had the best chances.
After the interval, Burnett went close again, but then Mossley started to press, but again they found Skelmersdale were stubborn and miserly in defence. The reality was that United goalkeeper Sam Ashton will have far busier afternoons before the season ends.
With the Skelmersdale defence in charge the Mossley equaliser 20 minutes from the end came as something of a surprise. The Mossley left-back Adam Mather lofted a free-kick into the box and Ashton punched, the ball reached the edge of the penalty area and was moved from left to right, while this was going on Ashton got into almost a wrestling match with a Mossley player and by the time Jason Gorton drilled the ball low at goal Ashton was still trying to make up ground as the ball went into the net.
The longer the game went on the stronger Skelmersdale looked. In the 88th minute Burnett cleverly riddled free of his shadow on the left and fired the ball low into the six yard box and Mike Phenix got to the ball fractionally before keeper Saunders and forced the ball home.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Ashton, Field, Corrigan, Hardwick ©, McIntosh, Strickland, Hickey, Woolcott, Hughes (Phenix, 84), Burnett, Bellew (Wright, 45) Subs (not used) Jackson, Morning, Griffiths
MOSSLEY: Saunders, Coo, Mather, Brown, Halford, Gorton, Young A. ©, Gee (Nightingale, 88), Coppin (Madeley, 62), Hind, Denham Subs (not used) Hopper, Haslam, Young D.
Referee: Paul Hodskinson